Station Deploying Microsatellites as New Crew Prepares for July 20 Launch

Expedition 60-61 Crewmembers
The next crew to launch to the space station is in Russia training for a July 20 launch to their new home in space. From left are, Expedition 60-61 crewmembers Andrew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano.

A satellite deployer ejected a CubeSat into Earth orbit last night from outside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. Today, the three Expedition 60 crewmembers explored microgravity’s effect on humans and plants to support longer spaceflight missions.

The RED-EYE microsatellite is orbiting Earth today to demonstrate satellite communications and attitude control technologies. NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague installed the satellite inside Kibo’s airlock last week for a safe deployment outside the orbiting lab. The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship delivered the CubeSat to the station May 6.

Hague is readying more CubeSats today for deployment later next week outside Kibo. They will orbit Earth demonstrating space tasks such as weather observations, satellite maneuvers and Earth photography. Students and engineers from around the world designed the series of seven microsatellites.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch watered plants growing inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module for the Veg-04 space gardening study. Afterward, she replaced fuel bottles to support flame and fuel research in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s Combustion Integrated Rack.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent Friday morning exploring tools and techniques future cosmonauts could use when controlling a spacecraft or a robot on a planetary surface. The two-time station resident then spent the afternoon working on life support systems and plumbing tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

Back on Earth, two veteran station crewmembers and a first-time space-flyer are wrapping up tests in Russia to certify for their July 20 launch to the orbiting lab. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan is in final mission training with experienced space residents Luca Parmitano of the European Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The trio will liftoff aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship from Kazakhstan 50 years to the day when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon.

Expedition 60 Science Ramps Up as Next Crew Trains for Mission

The atmospheric glow and a wispy aurora australis
The atmospheric glow and a wispy aurora australis, also known as the “southern lights,” frame a cloud-covered Earth.

Virtual reality filming, space gardening and biomedical research were on the timeline for two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station today, while a cosmonaut took care of computer hardware and life support maintenance.

Flight Engineer Christina Koch tended to plants today growing inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module for the Veg-04 botany study. She later relocated a pair of tiny research facilities in the EXPRESS-6 science rack. The two devices, TangoLab-2 and STaARS-1, enable advanced investigations into a variety of biological processes, such as cell cultures and tissue engineering.

Astronaut Nick Hague took a turn today recording himself with a 360-degree camera for a virtual reality experience targeted to audiences on Earth. In the afternoon, he collected and stowed his urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis.

Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin worked on Russian computer hardware in the Zvezda service module. In the evening, he picked up a high-powered camera for a photographic survey of catastrophes on Earth and their natural consequences.

The next crew to launch to the space station is in Star City, Russia for final qualification exams to certify to fly aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spaceship. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will lead NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano in the Soyuz when they blast off July 20 for a six-hour ride to their new home in space. This will be Morgan’s first space mission, Parmitano’s second and Skvortsov’s third visit to the station.

Station Trio Awaits New Crew 50 Years After Apollo 11 Moon Landing

The full moon
The full moon is pictured as the International Space Station orbited 254 miles above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Guam.

Three humans are orbiting Earth today as the new Expedition 60 trio and are back on duty aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 59 trio returned to Earth Monday and is re-adjusting to Earth gravity while another crew prepares for its launch at the end of July.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague are back to work today, following a day off after sleep shifting to oversee the departure of three crewmates Monday. Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin is in his second mission aboard the orbiting lab and took the mantle as station commander Sunday. The three orbital residents have been in space since March 14.

Koch split her day between filming herself in virtual reality with a 360-degree camera and working on U.S. spacesuit gear. Hague replaced life support hardware in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Ovchinin worked on science and plumbing activities in the station’s Russian segment.

Anne McClain of NASA flew back to Houston Tuesday night just one day after landing in Kazakhstan and completing a 204-day mission. Astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency returned to Houston with McClain. Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko returned to his home space agency in Russia. The crew will spend the next few weeks participating in a variety of tests and observations.

The next crew to launch to the station is due to blast off July 20, exactly 50 years after Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the moon. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will join experienced space-flyers Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov on the six-hour ride aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship to their new orbiting home.

Expedition 59 Trio Leaves Station for Ride to Earth

The Soyuz MS-11 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-11 Spacecraft carrying three Expedition 59 crewmembers backs away from the International Space Station moments after undocking.

NASA Flight Engineer Anne McClain, Expedition 59/Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency undocked from the International Space Station at 7:25 p.m. EDT to begin their trip home.

Deorbit burn is scheduled for approximately 9:55 p.m., with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 10:48 p.m. NASA will resume coverage on TV and online at 9:30 p.m. for deorbit burn and landing.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 60 began aboard the space station under the command of Roscosmos’ Alexey Ovchinin. Along with his crewmates NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, the three-person crew will operate the station for a few weeks until the next residents arrive July 20.

Andrew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos will launch aboard Soyuz MS-13 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and join Expedition 60 after a six-hour flight on the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Soyuz Docked to Space Station

Soyuz MS-12 Contact and Captured
Soyuz MS-12 arrived at the International Space Station at 9:01 p.m. ET, 255 miles just west off the coast of Peru. Image Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 9:01 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean just west of Peru. Expedition 59 officially began at the time of docking.

Aboard the space station, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Expedition 59 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

The crew members will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Seventy-five of the investigations are new and have never been performed in space. Some of the investigations are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth.

Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will support include devices that mimic the structure and function of human organs, free-flying robots, and an instrument to measure Earth’s distribution of carbon dioxide.

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 10:30 p.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Safely in Orbit After Successful Launch

Expedition 59 Launch
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft is launched with Expedition 59 crewmembers Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, Friday March 15, 2019, Kazakh time (March 14 Eastern time) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will spend six-and-a-half months living and working aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz MS-12 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles over southern Russia, across the northeast border with Kazakhstan; more than 1,100 statute miles ahead of the Soyuz as it leaves the launch pad.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmoshave begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for more than six months. The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.

About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the new residents will be greeted by NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The current three-person crew just welcomed the first American commercial crew vehicle as it docked to the station on March 3, amidst a busy schedule of scientific research and operations since arriving in December.

Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV’s media channel and the agency’s website beginning at 8:45 p.m. with the spacecraft docking expected at 9:07 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 10:30 p.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA Astronaut Nick Hague Set for New Space Station Mission

NASA astronauts (from left) Nick Hague and Christina Hammock Koch and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin
NASA astronauts (from left) Nick Hague and Christina Hammock Koch and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will launch aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft Feb. 28, 2019, from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the post-launch news conference for the Expedition 58 crew, Roscosmos and NASA officials announced that NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, who were forced to abort their recent mission Oct. 11 to the International Space Station, are now scheduled to launch again Feb. 28, 2019, from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Hague, Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch will launch aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft and join NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Konenenko of Roscosmos as station’s Expedition 59 crew.

Hague and Koch will serve as flight engineers for Expeditions 59 and 60. Ovchinin will serve as a flight engineer on Expedition 59 and the commander of Expedition 60. The trio will return to Earth in October 2019 as members of Expedition 60.

All three crew members will participate in a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston that will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

This will be Koch’s first spaceflight. Flight dynamics specialists determined Hague and Ovchinin achieved enough altitude on their aborted climb to orbit to qualify for previous spaceflight status, making this Hague’s second spaceflight and Ovchinin’s third.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.